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Thursday, May 27, 2010

it's balticon weekend

This weekend I'll be selling Anapurna jewelry in the dealers' room at Balticon. If you're local, stop by! Balticon is geeky bliss.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

why they make warranties

The window in our master bedroom is cracked. It appears to be some kind of stress fracture, probably from the house settling.

It's being replaced next week, no issues, no charges. A man from the window manufacturing company came out to measure the opening, and a new piece of glass was ordered and is ready to be installed. Always, always get a warranty.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Putting primer up on the walls of the guest room this weekend:

Him, muttering as he rolls: "1... 3... 5... 7..."

Me, baffled: "What are you doing?"

Him, as if it should be obvious: "Priming!"


Monday, May 24, 2010

a little break

We went to the beach for Don's birthday, a little mini-getaway that we both needed. I found a great hotel deal in Ocean City, and we lucked into amazing weather all weekend. We came back tanned and refreshed (the cat was delighted to see us), and we're looking forward to trying to fit in a few more weekend getaways this summer on the few weekends we're not working on the house.

The above photo was the view from our room on the first day, complete with surfers.

Friday, May 21, 2010

more projects

We keep saying to each other, "Look! We just have normal homeowner projects to do now!"

And it's mostly true. We walk into Home Depot like regular people now, buy the materials for one small project, go home and do it. It's still weird. That said, our house is far from done. We've been so busy enjoying the finished feeling of the downstairs that it's been easy to ignore that the upstairs doesn't really look like Joe and Suzy Homeowners' house yet.

That's our guest bathroom. It's full of stuff. People keep mistaking it for a storage closet.

I really, really want to get the upstairs bathrooms done - or even just one of them - before the end of the summer. In order to do that, we've got to get the stuff out of the guest bath. Which means we need to complete the projects that the stuff is there for - i.e., get the three upstairs bedrooms primed and painted. Once that's done, the painting stuff will get put away - at least for a while - and we can clear out our "storage closet" and start tiling.

This would be a lot easier if I didn't hate painting. And tiling.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

how to make me happy

I would much rather be given bookshelves than jewelry. We've been planning to make one whole wall of our office into a giant wall of bookshelves for a long time, and I'm incredibly excited that we've finally gotten started. Originally, we had planned for floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves. We had hoped that Don and his dad could build them together. But we soon realized that if we waited for that to happen, our books would stay in boxes for a long, long time - and when I said we should move in to our house and start living in it, I definitely intended including the books. So we looked at other options. There are a couple of companies that custom build home libraries and bookshelf walls, but they are crazy expensive. So we downgraded our plan; we would get off-the-shelf (ha!) shelves, and just line the wall with them.

We discovered that IKEA's 'Billy' bookshelf system was the perfect solution. The system offers shelves in two widths, and has corner adapters to make the shelves fit into corners and continue along the wall. The shelves are seven feet tall, but they also sell extenders to make them taller. The system also has cute accessories, including various doors, lights, and even a ladder.

We bought our shelving system in two batches, to spread out the cost between paychecks (it wound up being about $650 total, if you're curious). The first batch was bought and assembled shortly after we moved in, and I gleefully unpacked all of our books, games, and little tchotchkes. Half is decidedly not enough - as you can see in the picture below, the books are stacked haphazardly wherever I could find room once I ran out of shelves. And there are still more books at my mom's house that belong here.

Fortunately, the second batch has been bought, and is awaiting assembly. Once all of the shelves have been assembled (the boxes below include a second corner set, another wide shelf to go along the main wall, and extender shelves for everything), Don's going to bolt the whole thing to the wall and to each other so that it's really secure and effectively built in.

And then I'll finally get to organize my books. I'm torn between organizing by genre, by fiction vs. non-fiction, or simply alphabetically. It's a good problem to have.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

living room detail

The throw blanket on the couch was a wedding gift. It's beautiful. We were almost as excited to get it out of storage as we were the couch itself.

Monday, May 17, 2010

childhood memories, and making more of them

A couple of weeks ago, we finally got what Don has been waiting for: a piano.

Specifically, the piano of his childhood. It's been sitting in his parents' dining room, unused except for whenever one of the grandchildren comes over and plunks around on it noisily. We knew from the start that when we finished the house it would come to live with us - and his parents were eager to have more space in their dining room.

Don and his dad made one futile effort to move it themselves - it didn't work. At all. So we hired piano movers, and for a very reasonable price they hup-hup-hup'd it out of Don's parents' house and into their truck, drove it ten blocks over and brought it right in our front door and over to its new home tucked next to the stairs.

Don says he'll have learned how to play it by Christmas. He has visions of himself playing while we all sing carols. I have a deep suspicion that in his vision, he's wearing a sweater. With red knitted reindeer on it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

it's don's birthday today

I'm getting him golf lessons.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

pride and joy

We spend virtually all of our time in the living room now. It's amazingly comfortable. That couch? My new best friend. It was worth every second of the rain-soaked nighttime frenzy that was moving it (for which my father-in-law is officially a hero - not that he wasn't before).

The couch was a miraculous buy at Costco. I'd fallen in love with a couch from Restoration Hardware that cost five thousand dollars. Don never had any intention of letting me buy it, sensible man. But one day at Costco (where I do a lot of my shopping - did you know you can get a pound of goat cheese there for five dollars?), I happened upon a couch that was nearly an exact duplicate of the one I loved. And it cost $700. I snapped a picture of it on my phone and sent it to Don, with many exclamation points. There were only three left. We bought it that day, and it sat in my (very generous) in-laws' basement for months and months, as our house was still gutted at the time.

It emerged unscathed from its tenure as a basement dweller, and now we love it. The cat likes the ottoman - otherwise known as Kitty Sofa Adventure Island.

The image above is the living room from the front door. You can see Don's pride and joy, our gigantic new TV. The only reason it looks a little small in the picture is because the room - and the couch - is huge. It's 55 inches. The room is actually so big that we elected to install two ceiling fans, which have already been put to very good use in the warm spells we've been having. The couch seats seven or eight people, which means that when it's just the two of us we can comfortably stretch out and enjoy the gentle breeze from the fans as we watch Mythbusters in high definition.

Just like in the dining room, we still need a few pieces of furniture and decor - a new sofa table, a storage bench at the far end of the room, picture frames and art for the empty walls - not to mention some sort of window treatment. But it's an awesome place to relax, and we're really happy with it so far.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

dining room detail

I don't think I can possibly relate in coherent words the amount of marital discord caused by choosing a chandelier for the dining room.

PS - all of the arguing was totally Don's fault. And I still wish there were a few crystals.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

dining room

The plan for this summer is to try to finish off the house one room at a time, one weekend at a time. We'll start our downstairs projects in the dining room: it needs crown molding, window trim, and the pocket doors into the office to be installed (this involves stripping and refinishing the cool old doors we found in the attic, which are what will be hung as pocket doors).

We also really need a new dining room table and chairs. Right now we've got our old table from our first house, which was a tiny townhouse. We've got both of its extender leaves in it and it's still dwarfed by the size of the room. The folding chairs don't help, either.

But at least it's a table - shown here with the pink and white Mother's Day flowers from brunch on it. The huge bay window, even without trim and finishing, is just as nice as I imagined it would be when they were installing it. We've had several family events as well as our gaming group in the new dining room, and it's great. Dinner parties to come! (Also, curtains.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

let's pretend i was here all along

Oh, hello, dwindling blog readership. Is that you? I've been gone so long I hardly remember what you look like. Here's the thing. Lately, instead of working on our house, we have been living in it. It is AWESOME.

When last I wrote (in, uh, March, sorry about that), the floors were being finished up. After the flooring people cleaned up and left, we sat down and tried to make a cohesive plan to get the rest of the smaller tasks done so that we could finally move in. Things like crown molding, window trim, replacing the front door, etc. We just couldn't figure out a way to do it quickly while Don's graduate school classes were still in session. Turns out grad school is a lot of work, who knew? At the thought of waiting until his classes were over (last week, actually) to sit on my beloved still-in-storage couch, I may or may not have thrown a tantrum. Once I allegedly calmed down, we realized that there was, in fact, another solution: throw up our hands and just give up!

Okay, not really. What we decided to do was to move in with the house as it was - finished floors and walls, no window trim, no crown molding, unpainted upstairs, unfinished upstairs bathrooms, front door still unreplaced. We elected to just stop working on the house for the rest of the semester, to just move in and enjoy having a house that looked mostly finished even if we knew it really wasn't. We would pick back up as soon as classes were over, and hope to get the rest of the finishing stuff done this summer so that we could focus on the next big project we'd like to start (which involves filling the nursery upstairs). This way, we can finally actually live like normal people in this lovely house we happen to own.

So. We've been doing just that - living. And in the process, the house got really messy, because we are huge slobs, and then I was too embarrassed about the mess to take pictures of it for you all but also far too lazy to do more than cursory cleaning. We're, uh, looking into a cleaning service.

But! We cleaned the house up this weekend in order to host a Mother's Day brunch (a raring success, incidentally), and I took the opportunity while it was still clean this morning to snap a bunch of pictures. So I'm writing up a bunch of posts so you can see the house as it now is, and what there still is left to do. Don's classes are over, and we've got big plans.